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Phase Transfer Deadline FAQs and Answers

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Sarah Woosey Profile Picture
Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

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15 February is an important date each year if your child has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and is due to transfer to either the primary or secondary phase of their education.

This is because the Local Authority is legally required to issue an amended Final EHCP by this date, naming the school or type of school your child should attend from the following September .

Below, our Education Team answers some FAQs about the Phase Transfer deadline on 15th February.

For legal advice contact our Education Solicitors and SEN Lawyers.

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FAQs about the phase transfer deadline

What Can I Do if My Child Doesn't Get an EHCP by the Phase Transfer Deadline?

If your Local Authority fails to meet the phase transfer deadline, you can challenge this through a Judicial Review. We can help you with this.

What Can I Do if the Local Authority Leaves the School Placement Section Blank from September?

The Local Authority is legally required to name either a specific school or type of school. If they don’t, you can challenge this. . We can help you with this.

What is a Phase Transfer?

The deadline for 15th February relates to your child moving from one school to another. For example:

  • Early years to primary school
  • Primary school to secondary school

The Phase Transfer deadline is regarding children and young people with SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities), who have an EHCP. There should be a Phase Transfer Review prior to the decision being made.

Why does an EHCP need to be reviewed?

The law states that an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) must be reviewed before a child moves between key phases of their education and at least annually at other times. This allows the school to plan and prepare for the child’s transition and any provisions that may be needed in the new educational setting. The review allows discussion and evidence of need to be considered before any decision on placement is made.

What does the review process involve?

The review will consider the effectiveness of any provisions that have been made for the child and the provisions for health and social care. It’ll also look at whether any changes are required to the outcomes, as a result of the child’s progress. For example, the changes may include amendments to the provision, educational setting, or whether to discontinue the EHCP altogether. A phase transfer review should have a significant focus on what school is going to be required for the next phase in the child’s education.

What role does the Local Authority have for Phase Transfer?

It is the Local Authority’s legal duty to arrange the review and to issue a decision following the review. However, it is not uncommon for a review meeting to simply involve a school and the family rather than a representative from the Local Authority.

What can I do if my child doesn’t get an EHCP by the Phase Transfer deadline?

If your Local Authority fails to meet the phase transfer deadline, you can challenge this through a Judicial Review. We can help you with this.

What Can I Do if I Don’t Think the School Named in the EHCP is Suitable for My Child?

If you aren’t happy with the school named in the EHCP, you can make an appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (SEND). Any appeal should be made quickly to maximise your chances of the appeal being concluded prior to the summer. The Tribunal do prioritise these appeals and run them on a condensed timetable to ensure that they’re heard in time.

Is the Phase Transfer process different for Post-16?

The process is the same but the deadline to issue a decision is 31st March in the year of transfer rather than 15th February for younger children transferring.

Does the Local Authority have to stick to the deadline?

Yes, the dates are legal deadlines and the Local Authority can be challenged if they do not issue a decision by those dates.

A Quick Look at the Transfer Process

To help make the Phase Transfer Review process run as smoothly as possible, here’s step-by-step guide on what you should do and when.

  • In the Summer Term, the Local Authority will likely notify the school when the Phase Transfer Process must be completed. If you’ve not received a date towards the end of the Summer Term, you should contact them to get one.
  • Make sure you do your research regarding the school you would like for your child and why.
  • In the Autumn Term the school should provide you with at least 10 days’ notice of the Phase Transfer Review meeting. They should also distribute the paperwork that is required for the Phase Transfer Review. If you still haven’t received the paperwork at around the 10-day point, then you should speak with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) at the school.
  • Following the meeting, the school send the relevant paperwork to the Local Authority who should then consider any amendments needed to the EHCP and issue one naming the school or college to be attended from the following September.
  • If you’re unhappy with your child’s EHCP, you will have 2 months to appeal.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

Our Education Law Solicitors can help you with the entire process.

We’ve helped countless families get the best outcome for their children’s educational needs. If you need specialist legal advice or representation, our Education Lawyers are ready to help you.

If you’ve got problems with your child's phase transfer, their EHCP doesn't meet their needs or they don’t have a place at their preferred school, contact us today.


King’s Printer of Acts of Parliament (no date d) The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014.

Department for Education (2020c) SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years.

Sarah Woosey Profile Picture

Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

Areas of Expertise:
Education Law

Sarah re-joined Simpson Millar in 2018 having previously trained at the firm before spending a number of years working for a different national firm. She has a number of years’ experience in a range of Education Law and Social Care issues and has focused particularly on getting suitable education and/or services for children and young adults with a wide range of Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.

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